SPRINGFIELD TEXAS AREA HISTORY
The area that became Springfield, Texas was once the home of various Indian tribes dating back some ten thousand years. Although the tribes of the area in historic times (Tawakoni (Tehuacana) and Waco Indians)were generally regarded as friendly by the Anglo-Americans who began to settle among them during the early nineteenth century, their horse stealing ways were a continual source of annoyance to the anglo settlers.
Hunting parties of Caddo Indians from East Texas, also considered peaceful by the settlers, roved westward through the area in pursuit of buffalo. The territory of the future county also lay within the range of more hostile southern Wichita peoples, such as the Tawakonis and the Comanche Indians. Raids on the white settlements by small parties, typically seeking horses, seemed to become more frequent during the middle and late 1830s. In 1840, President Lamar sent the texas army to drive out all Indians (many were resettled in Oklahoma; others relocated their camps to Mexico).
FOUNDING OF SPRINGFIELD, LIMESTONE COUNTY, TEXAS (1838)
The area that became Springfield, and later county seat of Limestone County ( April 11, 1846)was situated in the north central part of Limestone County in what is now included in Fort Parker State Recreation Area. Springfield became a townsite in January of 1838 and was incorporated by the legislature in 1848.
The region around Springfield, was part of the Haden Edwards and Robert Leftwich empresario grants made by the Coahuila and Texas legislature in 1825. The government tried to restrict colonization through legislation, but settlers continued to stream into Texas claiming land grants in the area before 1836. Among these were Silas M. Parker, Moses Herrin, Elisha Anglin, Luther T. M. Plummer, David Faulkenberry, Joshua Hadley, and Samuel Frost, who came together as a group from Illinois in 1833 to establish a permanent settlement for their families.
Fort Parker, near the Navasota River in what is now central Limestone County, was the earliest actual settlement in the vicinity. While most of the men were out in the fields early on May 19, 1836, a large band of Comanches and their Kiowa allies approached the fort. After a short conversation under a flag of truce, the Indians attacked and killed most of the inhabitants. Several prisoners were taken, including Mrs. Rachel Plummer, who later wrote an account of her captivity, and nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker, who spent the next twenty-four years with the Comanches and married Peta Nocona. Their son, Quanah Parker, was a chief of the tribe.
SPRINGFIELD BECOMES COUNTY SEAT OF LIMESTONE COUNTY (1847)
On April 11, 1846, Limestone County was formed from Robertson County, and a week later Springfield was established as the county seat. Springfield had a population of 120 when it was incorporated in 1848. In 1873, however, when the courthouse burned and the Houston and Texas Central Railway bypassed the town, an election was ordered and Groesbeck became the county seat.
The organization of the county was completed on August 18, 1846, with the election of county officials. Limestone County originally included all the land between the Brazos and Trinity rivers on the east and west, and the land north of Robertson County to Navarro County. In 1848 part of northern and western Limestone County was taken to form McLennan and Falls counties, and in 1850 part of the eastern section was taken to form part of Freestone County. The boundaries were changed to their present form on November 2, 1866.
SPRINGFIELD POST OFFICE ESTABLISHED IN 1847
When Limestone County was established in 1847, Springfield became the county seat, and a post office was formerly assigned. The following year, Springfield was incorporated was incorporated by the legislature.
By the early 1850s, Springfield had five general stores, two hotels, two schools, a newspaper, and a Masonic hall.
LOSS OF RAILROAD LEADS TO DOWNFALL OF SPRINGFIELD
In the early 1870s the Houston and Texas Central Railroad began negotiating to buy rights of way through Springfield. When residents held out for more money than the railroad company was willing to pay, the company decided to bypass Springfield altogether.
As a result of loosing the railroad, the settlement of Springfield lost much of its business to the nearby towns of Groesbeck and Mexia. Then after the courthouse at Springfield burned in 1873, Limestone County residents decided to make Groesbeck the county seat. With no railroad, no new businesses, and none of the prestige associated with being the county seat, Springfield faded, as its population was drawn to more vital communities. The post office was discontinued in 1878, and mail for the remaining residents was sent to Groesbeck. When the former townsite became part of Fort Parker State Park in the mid-1930s, only the cemetery remained.
EARLY-DAY RESIDENTS OF SPRINGFIELD
The Springfield 1860 Census listed Reuben Long, Druggist , Nancy Y. Long ,
N. W. Grant, School Teacher, and
Louisa C. Long.
Nathan Worley Grant was a private for the Terry's Texas Rangers in the Civil War and fought in three battles (including Chickamauga and Shiloh). Worley served with Marcus Perry in the Civil War. He is buried outside cemetery at the Bluff Creek Cemetery. He had been teaching in the area before his death.
Marcus Perry lived in Springfield, Limestone County, TX in 1860 with his father and two siblings. Marcus also served with Terry's Texas Rangers in the Civil War.
Other early settlers of the area, including Logan Stroud, the Anglins (Abram, Elisha, John, Moses, and William), John Baker, Seth Bates, William Burns, George W. Cox, Samuel Nelson, Forest Phifer, John D. Smith, and Alfonso Steele, all self-sufficient farmers.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jeff Towers, "Springfield: Buried with the Past," Texas Parks and Wildlife, February 1986. Ray A. Walter, A History of Limestone County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1959). Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone, and Leon Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893). Wayland P. Moody, A History of Education in Limestone County, Texas (M.A. thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1930). Hampton Steele, A History of Limestone County, 1833-1860 (Mexia, Texas: Mexia News, n.d.).
Springfield Cemetery Listing
The Springfield Cemetery is located South of Mexia off Hwy 14 and is located inside the current boundaries of Fort Parker State Park.
Brookins Dr N 1-24-1819 10-1854 "Born in Eastern N.Y..
Died in Texas by
slain for gold.
He suffered much
through life and murmured
Butler Willie B none none age 33 yrs 11 mo son
of W Butler
Cole Amanda M 3-18-1830 11-5-1856 "wife of J N Cole
Daughter of R.D. & M. Peeples.
Born in Talapoose Co.,
Ala. Age 20 yrs,7 mo,17 da"
Cole John M 4-16-1853 12-12-1865 "son of J N & Amanda,
was born in Limestone Co.
12 yrs, 7 mo, 12 da"
Coulson Burr none none (a servant buried in
the Stroud lot)
Curry Kate none 1955
Curry Ben Sr 10-26-1885 8/15/1953
Curry James 2/22/1905 7/17/1917
Curry Joe none 3/31/1905
Hall Edward 11-20-1893 3/8/1920
Haynie Albert Emmet 12-20-1828 8-20-1851
House E F 2-24-1825 6/22/1917 Mother
House M D L 7-4-1825 3-4-1876 Father
Jefferson Mrs. Ella Mae 1911 1/11/1949
Johnson Roddie none 2/24/1935 Texas Pvt. 331 Serv.
Johnson Johnie Lyn 7/1/1910 10/23/1923
Johnson Willie 4/12/1900 2/7/1958
Johnson Willie Jr 6/28/1926 9/6/1964 Texas Seaman 1st Class
Johnson Ephraim 1824 9-26-1892 Husband of ________
Kelly Willie V 11/30/1914 1/10/1953 Texas Tec 5 323 Ord
Ammo Co WWII
Lane Mary Marshael 5-21-1827 1854
Lynch Nathaniel H none 10-3-1849 "8 mo, 9 das Inf son
Joseph & Mary"
Lynch Mary none 6-12-1852 "age 32 yr, 2 mo, 22
da. Wife of Joseph P Lynch"
Lynch Joseph Penn 1810 1860 Born in Kentucky-- A
private and Capt in the
Army of the Republic
of Texas. Served in the
San Jacinto Campaign
in 1836. Died at Springfield.
Mathews Everlin 5/15/1907 11/22/1947
McCullough Died 11-4-1891 In memory of daughter
McElroy Robert Emmett 6-9-1831 3-21-1856 "Son of John and
Born in Calsba, Dallas
Pendergast, Nov 29, 1855
in Limestone Co.
Moore Lela 4-26-1887 12-26-1894
Morris Laura 10-4-1824 11-17-1898 wife of Thomas L.
Morris T L 9-17-1823 5-30-1891
Morris Willie W 1-19-1867 6-21-1867 son of T.L. & Laura
Morris Mary T 7-17-1856 6-5-1867 dau of T.L. & Laura
Morris Infants none none Infs of T.L. & Laura
Nettles Fannie 1854 11-1894
Nettles Anna 1-16-1888 12-20-1894 dau of D & B Nettles
Peeples R D 9-2-1804 5-7-1861 born in Green Co.
Proctor Eva 12-14-1884 6/26/1955 Mother
Rhodes Conrad Jr 7/27/1943 9/11/1964 Texas Pvt. US Army
Rhodes James O 5/29/1925 11/11/1953 Texas Sgt. 3677 O.M.
Truck Co. WWII
Rhodes Ezekiel 1-4-1883 12/19/1951
Roberts Antonia M 3-29-1849 9-28-1869 Dau of H.M. & F.
Row John S 5-28-1837 12-27-1874
Sanders Johnah 5-15-1894 1/1/1960 * double marker
Sanders Conrid 1/12/1900 11/2/1948 * double marker
Shackelford Mrs John 10-14-1831 1-12-1863
Smith Lula 10-15-1888 10-8-1890
Stroud Logan Almoren 10-10-1814 2/5/1911 born in Morgan Co.
Stroud Jane E Harlan 12-21-1823 2/1/1905 His wife--born in
Laurance Dis. S.C.
Stroud William M 1-5-1853 8-5-1877 son of L.A. & J.E.
Stroud Ethan 2-10-1848 4-22-1870 Eldest son of L.A. and
Stroud Little Owen none 7-11-1865 "1 yr, 1 mo, 2 das"
Stroud Little Suda none 11-4-1864 age 8 mo
Tiebout Mary Anne 6-26-1834 2-10-1853 "Born in Jiles Co Tenn
Wife of Henry Tiebout,
dau of Samuel & Eliza
Tranmel Boy 11-23-18995 2/24/1912 son of Dailey & Beulah
Tranmel Beulah 4-1-1875 10/23/1923
Walker Sanders 5-11-1818 4-3-1887 A veteran of the Texas
War for Independence 1835-1836
(erected by the State
Walker William 10-5-1848 9-29-1870
Walker Lucretia 6-11-1822 4-10-1864 Wife of Sanders Walker
Walker Mary 7-29-1868 8-27-1896 wife of J.M.
Walker Mary 1821 7-15-1868 second wife of Sanders
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